Today is Sunday.  My thoughts gravitate towards home.  By the time you read this I will be home if all goes as planned.  The lake is wooing me back to the rhythms of the waves and the sunset sinking into the western sky.  Home is where I feel safe, secure and most creative.  But for now home is off in the distance waiting to welcome me back. And, I am aware that another home is calling me to reflect on an unexpected Sunday morning visit.

That Sunday morning didn’t start out as one where I would be going anywhere.  But after the persuasion of some friends I decided that I, too, would ride along for a visit to Fremont, Michigan.  My friends were curious to see the home where I grew-up; it wasn’t out of the way, so why not?  As we turned onto Maple Street I noticed a For Sale sign in front yard.  We stopped and I jumped out of the car to get a closer look.  The owner saw me, thought I was perspective buyer and invited us in.  I felt slightly deceptive in taking her up on the invitation.  As we all walked in the owner quickly ascertained that I was not an interested buyer but that I was familiar with the house already. Oh my goodness…my heart was flooded with memories as I walked from room to room to peak into the closets, the corners and the places that are preserved forever in my sensitive heart.

In the moment it was hard to focus on what I was seeing as the owner became interested in the history of the house.  I offered her some with my chipper voice, but on the inside I was unraveling over the memories of two rooms that halted my steps…the kitchen and the bathroom.  I felt frozen with fear.

It was in the kitchen where my dad brought to my attention that I was eating too much and that I would get fat.  As I stared at my seat at the table, my heart began to pound.  It felt like yesterday sitting there with my straggly hair, my horn rimmed glasses, my white shirt and my stretchy blue shorts.  I felt ugly, fat, undesirable and 17 years old all over again.  My heart was screaming, “Get out of here.”

Cautiously, I moved onto the bathroom where so much violence and hate surfaced as I peered into the toilet and remembered my disgusting behavior. I could visualize the bathroom scales in the corner that tormented me daily. I hurried out of there thinking I could forget this tangible part of my past.  I felt haunted by these memories and I wanted to escape.  Sadly, on this Sunday I, once again, left my 17 year old in the house.  She was to remain locked behind the bathroom door.

Fortunately, I didn’t leave her there for long.  I realized she had waited long enough and it was time for me to begin the process of releasing her from the bondage of that house and particularly the bathroom where she hid for all those years.

Since then my heart has returned to my 17 year old to speak tender words of kindness and affirmation.  Metaphorically, I stand outside the bathroom door and reassure her that, “I love her.  I am here to protect her wounded heart.  I accept her just as she is.  Everything is going to be OK.  I have your back.  You are beautiful.”  I wait for her to unlock the door and I hold her close to my heart…the heart that knows her better than she knows herself.  It has taken time. Yet I continue to woo her out of the bathroom and back into my heart.

Today the words of my tender heart resonate, “Oh my God.”

You, alone, dear Lord have freed my heart to live the life intended for me.

The house in Fremont is just a place that no longer haunts me or holds captive my 17 year old.  No part of me is in bondage there any longer.

My heart belongs to my home by the lake and the memories being made there.  There is laughter, rest, good food and sheer comfort to be had.  It all sounds so delightful right this very moment…Oh My Goodness; I can’t wait to get back there!  Yes, soon…


Mary Jane Hamilton loves her life living on Lake Michigan with her husband of 47+ years. It is her family that brings her the greatest joy especially her 6 grandchildren. MJ readily admits that she adores her dachshunds and rests in the comfort they provide. She smiles at life and “rolls with the punches” that are thrown her way. MJ loves Jesus and beauty, MJ loves wind, waves and thunder, MJ loves fashion and good wine, MJ loves…